Making simple changes to your everyday life can not only improve your health and save you money, but also benefit the community around you.
BRING ON THE GREEN
Give gardening a try. Benefits include fresh air, exercise, fresh vegetables and extra money in your pocket. For the cost of four tomatoes, you could grow 14 or more. Even better, making your own compost from kitchen scraps and yard waste can reduce your impact on the city landfill and save you from buying compost at the store. If you have kids, composting can also be a great educational opportunity to learn about biology, life cycles and recycling. Check out gardening-related classes and educational resources from UNL Extension (lancaster.unl.edu/yard-garden) or Community Crops (CommunityCrops.org).
EXCHANGE FOUR WHEELS FOR TWO
Switching out driving for bike commuting just one day a week has multiple benefits. For you, obviously exercise is always a plus, and getting it in during your commute saves you time as well. Saving money on gas never hurts, and having a relaxing commute on a bike rather than sitting in traffic can do wonders for your mental health. For your community, you’re adding fewer gas emissions to the environment, less wear and tear to the streets and less traffic congestion. Even your employer will be happy, as moderate daily exercise has been shown to sharpen memory and learning, prevent cognitive decline and improve overall brain performance. The more days you ride, the more everyone benefits. To learn about Lincoln’s extensive trail system, bike resources and Bike to Work Week events from May 11-18, go to lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: bike).
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Many of us are familiar with the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” campaign as a way to reduce waste going into our landfills. It can also help conserve natural resources, create recycling employment opportunities and reduce energy reliance. For instance, recycling aluminum cans requires 95 percent less energy than producing the cans from raw materials. It’s good for the air. It’s estimated that a national recycling rate of 30 percent reduces greenhouse emissions equivalent to removing nearly 30 million cars from the road.
Okay, what about daily benefits at home? Try reusing a milk jug as anything from a bird feeder to a watering can or plant container, or fill it with sand to create a dumbbell weight or use it as a cone for an obstacle course for your kid. The choices are endless, as well as the fitness opportunities and cost savings. For more information on reducing, reusing or recycling in Lincoln: recycle.lincoln.ne.gov.